25 March 2021

‘It’s a real shame’ – Casey Stoney bemoans Old Trafford broadcast situation

25 March 2021

Manchester United boss Casey Stoney has expressed disappointment over the broadcast situation for Saturday’s Women’s Super League clash with West Ham at Old Trafford.

United’s women’s team are set to play at the stadium for the first time after the club last week announced the fixture was being moved from Leigh Sports Village.

The game will be shown live on the Football Association’s FA Player free streaming platform.

Stoney on Thursday said she was disappointed with regard to broadcasters not showing the match and United’s MUTV being “not allowed” to do so.

Stoney told a press conference: “I think the real shame is that we’re not allowed to broadcast it.

“I think we’ve missed a massive opportunity. Again, we’re so short-sighted in the women’s game, because we’ve used our three games for MUTV and we can’t broadcast it.

“So I’m really disappointed in that sense, that no one’s picked it up. Because the FA have been badgering and badgering about playing at Old Trafford, and now all of a sudden, we can’t show it. I am a bit disappointed in that sense.”

The FA’s current agreement in terms of broadcasting WSL action is with BT Sport and the BBC. This weekend BT Sport is showing Sunday’s Chelsea v Aston Villa match, while Saturday’s Manchester City v Reading game is on the BBC Red Button and iPlayer.

An FA spokesperson said: “As part of our current domestic rights agreements, clubs are permitted to show up to three Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches per season that are not selected by host broadcasters.

“The broadcasters had made their picks for this coming weekend ahead of change of venue and as a result, the match will be shown live, for free, on The FA Player to audiences in the UK and abroad.”

Stoney also gave her thoughts on the new WSL broadcast deal announced by the FA on Monday, which will see matches shown on Sky Sports and BBC One and Two over the next three seasons.

It is the first time the rights to the WSL have been sold separately from the men’s game, with the league’s clubs and Women’s Championship sides receiving a proportion of the revenue – the split being 75 per cent (WSL) to 25 per cent. It is understood the deal is worth around £8million per season.

“I think it’s a momentous occasion for the women’s game,” Stoney said.

“I think it’s an incredible occasion, I think it’s fantastic for the women’s game and I think it shows how far the women’s game has come in this country in the last five, six years, so credit to the FA for getting those people on board.”

The FA’s director of the women’s professional game, Kelly Simmons, said that as well as going to clubs, money from the deal will be used for “central investments, new strategic investments, including refereeing”.

After last Friday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, Stoney said in an interview with BT Sport that she thought the game’s referee Amy Fearn was “atrocious at best tonight”, and added “we’ve got to improve the officiating in this league”.

Asked on Thursday what she made of the new deal in terms of money being invested in refereeing, Stoney said: “I would personally welcome it.”

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